Sadly, we do not have much to report or write about the city of Christchurch. There isn’t much to see or do, and the town center has been mostly destroyed due to the devastating earthquake. Saying this is brave, because certainly many locals do not feel this way, but from a traveler’s perspective, there really isn’t.
However, with that being said, Christchurch is not completely empty. The largest city on the south island of New Zealand is full of compassionate and concerned citizens who are actively involved in the rebuilding of the city.
Ryann had talked with a woman on the plane who shared her personal story of how she was affected by the earthquake. The woman was living in Christchurch at the time of the earthquake but felt that her family had to unfortunately relocate to Auckland. It was a hard decision for her and her family, but decided it was for the best. She said that she feels a strong urge to return and visit, because it was still home despite the conditions. The woman’s property and home was not damaged and felt intense feelings of guilt because of it. She said at the time of her moving, it was disheartening because the insurance companies were too slow in the process of delivering compensation to those really needing it. She said she was very sad to see the city the way it is today and persuaded us to take a tour of the neighborhoods that were affected the most. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time in our schedule. This would be an invaluable insight into what happened in Christchurch, quite possibly offering information on the future plans of rebuild and circumstances of aftermath.
On the Other Hand…
Another experience we had with the locals was with the hosts of our Airbnb. They had an entirely different perspective and story than the woman on the airplane. Although originally from Christchurch, they had been living in Australia with their son at the time of the earthquake. After the quake hit, they knew they had to come back. They tried their best to fix up the damages brought to their home and although there are cracks and broken windows, they do not appear defeated. The wife had a completely different outlook. Her perspective was “what’s done is done,” and rather than focusing on the destruction and the amount of rebuilding that is necessary, she is excited for the city’s new look and redesign.
Sadly, Christchurch had endured a tough past but it appears that the city remains determined, thoroughly inspired to renovate and rebuild a city that reflects their love and pride.